Monday, January 9, 2012

CP3 Trade Block Revisited

Back in December when David Stern blocked Chris Paul's trade to the Lakers virtually anyone with interest in the NBA protested that Stern's autocracy had finally started to compromise the integrity of the NBA. Commentators, like Bill Simmons, argued--and probably correctly--that Stern made the decision at the behest of small market owners, whom Stern had to just the day before coerced into accepting a collective bargaining agreement that many small-market owners felt was unfair. The thinking went that 'Chris Paul to the Lakers reflected yet another case of a star dictating which big-market team he wanted to play with'. As a result, the NBA was becoming a bifurcated lead of the big-market haves and the small market have your choice of Jarron or Jason Collins, also Ricky Davis and Wally Szczerbiak are free agents if you're interested.

Critics were correct--in the short-term--in pointing out that the deal benefited all teams and perhaps the Hornets the most as they traded one superstar who planned on leaving in six months and in return received three quality starters. But DBSF always supported Stern. And it is the long-term interest of the league and the players involved that show Stern was right.

NBA fans are unique from other sports in that dedications rest more with superstars than teams, save dynasties like the Lakers and Celtics. As a result, most NBA fans--and networks with broadcasting rights--prefer to see superstars play together on select teams. And it should come as no surprise that 25 year old multimillionaire superstar basketball players prefer cities, like New York and Los Angeles, over Milwaukee or San Antonio. This presents a problem to the NBA in its efforts to expand its fan base. While it’s great for short-term ratings to have superstars team-up in major cities it prevents marginal fans in small market cities from taking interest in the NBA. What benefit does a marginal basketball fan in Charlotte have in following the Bobcats if there is no chance for his home team to compete because no stars want to play in her or his city?

In the long-term DBSF is confident that Stern's actions will help preserve the NBA and allow it to grow rather than remain some fantasy all-star game prized by big-market fans and core followers who want to watch more an offense-fueled video game than basketball. But what about the players and the teams involved in trade?

DBSF thinks that while this wasn't his purpose Stern alerted superstars to the dangers of the big-market, super-team model. With the exception of Kobe, every superstar was made better off. If Paul goes to the Lakers and they lose Odom and Gasol, they're still at best a four maybe three seed in the West. Kobe's age has become a factor. While he's still healthy Bynum is not a dominate big man and Meta World Artest is becoming mad Luke Walton'ish.

Paul probably won't accomplish much with the Clippers this year but if Blake develops into a superstar and not just a highlight reel, the Clippers are young enough and a big man away from becoming a presence in the West. During the whole trade debacle Dwight Howard was demanding a trade to the Nets. Now we hear nothing of it as the Nets are the Washington Wizards +6 and Deron Williams very well might not resign with a team that emptied house to acquire him. Further, Howard need only look at the Knicks to see that putting two stars together doesn't guarantee success. 

After signing Tyson Chandler this off-season the Knicks are essentially locked-in with their big-three front court. The problem is that even if Amare stays healthy all year they're still a three seed at best. The sad truth that Stoudemire is finding out is that if Carmelo doesn't give you 25+ then taking into account his laissez faire defense and how he slows up the D'Antoni seven-seconds and shoot express he can become a liability. 

So the super-team model doesn't guarantee success. Now back to Stern's blocking the Paul trade. Why would Stern block a trade that benefited all teams especially considering Paul announced that he would leave in the off-season? Interestingly Kobe made the same demand a few years ago--and was about to be traded to Chicago except the Bulls refused to give up Deng--and then the Lakers re-tooled with Gasol and Odom, and Kobe wins two more titles yet no one ever went back and asked Kobe in retrospect what he thought about his demand to be traded in response to the decision of the Lakers' front office.

Consider if Paul was still with the Hornets. We know Dwight Howard wants out of Orlando. New Jersey and New York are out for him. The Lakers have an aging Kobe and they're record is the same so they become less attractive. After David West's departure it seems logical--assuming winning a title and not playing in a big-market remains his primary goal--that Dwight consider teaming up with Paul in New Orleans. Not only would New Orleans have young, dominant players at the two most important positions in basketball, but they'd have money to bring in another scorer. This is what was missed in the hype surrounding Paul to the Lakers. Superstars make demands--it’s what they do. General Managers, on the other hand, are supposed weather the ego-driven storms and build contenders. Whether or not anyone recognized it, Stern's blocking the Chris Paul trade could have created a New Orleans dynasty.


  1. chris paul is a cupcake who hasn't won jack. go denver

  2. you are the ussr of sports bloggers.

  3. whoever this 'mick' joker is - he clearly did NOT see the clips WRECK SHOP on LBJ et al last night!!! CP3: 27 pts 6 boards 11 assists 3 STEALS come on BrO SMarTEN Up!!!!!!!!!!!!